NAPA VALLEY, Calif., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Markham Vineyards, a Napa Valley winery long dedicated to philanthropy, launched the fourth annual Mark of Distinction initiative, offering two $25,000 grants to organizations committed to the betterment of their neighborhoods, cities or towns. For the first time, Markham Vineyards is supplementing the program with the Sip of Service sweepstakes, an effort to reward individuals who take smaller steps to promote positive change.
The Mark of Distinction was created to inspire and activate anyone who shares Markham Vineyards' commitment to community. Individuals or organizations with a vision that can make a positive impact, are invited to submit proposals from now until July 31st at www.MarkhamMarkofDistinction.com. Submissions should be no more than 300 words, and should describe the initiative, rationale and inspiration. The projects and initiatives can range from building community center playgrounds, to implementing a community recycling program, to founding a volunteer network for teens. A brief budget and timeline for execution should also be included.
Simultaneously, the Sip of Service, a sweepstakes available to fans of the Markham Vineyards Facebook page, will serve as a reminder that even the little things can make a big difference. Starting on April 21st and continuing through October 2nd, each week, Markham Vineyards will reward one community altruist with a $200 prize. To enter, individuals can share a brief statement online on the "Sip of Service" tab on www.facebook.com/MarkhamVineyards detailing how they have made a difference in their community and benefited someone else's life. Sip of Service statements should be no more than 1000 characters, and will be entered into a weekly random drawing.
From August 29th to October 2nd, ten finalists from the Markham Mark of Distinction will be posted on www.MarkhamMarkofDistinction.com for nationwide voting. The public will determine two grant recipients to each be awarded $25,000 to implement their initiative and leave a "Mark of Distinction" in their communities.
To further honor the grant recipients, Markham Vineyards will also produce two single-vineyard, limited production Estate Cabernet Sauvignon wines appropriately named The Philanthropist and The Altruist. The 2009 vintage, to be released in Fall/Winter 2012, will detail the recipients’ causes on the label and Markham Vineyards will donate $1 of sales from each bottle to their respective initiatives (up to a maximum donation of an additional $3,600 to each charity).
"At Markham Vineyards, we have been continually inspired by the Mark of Distinction program participants, and look forward to another year of supporting communities across the nation," said Markham Vineyards President and Napa Valley native Bryan Del Bondio. "This year, we are enhancing our efforts with the launch of the Sip of Service sweepstakes. We hope this encourages people to pay it forward, and reminds everyone that a seemingly small act can make a big, positive difference to someone else."
The inspiration for the Mark of Distinction can be found in the history of the winery itself. Founded in 1879, Markham Vineyards achieved success through the support of the local Napa Valley community, and in turn, has been unwavering in its efforts to give back. Markham owns more than 230 acres of Napa Valley vineyards and purchases grapes from established local growers, many of whom have worked with the winery for years – including Ted Laurent, grandson of Markham winery founder Jean Laurent.
Markham Vineyards has a history or giving back and supports charitable efforts at local and national levels. Locally, Markham has long been a supporter of the renowned Napa Valley Vintners' annual auction, while nationally supporting the Catch 22 Foundation, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, City of Hope, the Lili Claire Foundation, the Make it Right Foundation, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, Sylvester Cancer Center and the United Way.
Markham Vineyards offers a diverse range of award-winning varietals, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petite Sirah. For more information about the winery, please visit www.markhamvineyards.com.